Philippines’ President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. has approved the removal of the COVID-19 test requirements for incoming visitors and the lifting of the mask-wearing mandate for indoor settings.

Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco made the announcement in a press briefing at the Malacañang Palace following the Cabinet Meeting with the President.

In line with the President’s vision to ease travel and tourist convenience, Secretary Frasco said the direction taken by National Government agencies is towards the liberalization of travel protocols in the country.

“The direction is to lift the remainder of travel restrictions into the Philippines, and that includes easing of our mask mandates to allow our country to be at par with our ASEAN neighbours who have long liberalized their mask mandates,” said Secretary Frasco.

“In addition to this, it was also discussed that the remainder of stringent protocols, such as the requirement of pre-departure testing into the Philippines would also be removed”, the DOT Chief added.

One of the most popular holiday destinations in the Philippines is the Puerto Princesa Underground River, voted one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature. Thanks to its spectacular limestone karst scenery located on the island of Palawan, visitors from all over the world want to set foot in the country. So much so, that the Philippines has already breached the 2022 target foreign visitors arrivals.

However, Secretary Frasco noted that indoor mask-wearing will still be required in public transport, medical transport and in medical facilities, and will be “highly encouraged” for unvaccinated, individuals with comorbidities, and senior citizens.

The Tourism Secretary also announced that President Marcos Jr. will issue an Executive Order that will allow fully-vaccinated visitors coming to the Philippines to be allowed entry into the country without the COVID-19 test requirement. Meanwhile, unvaccinated guests will be given the option to take an antigen test 24 hours before travel or upon arrival in the Philippines. This policy will supersede the stringent COVID-19 test and quarantine requirements for vaccinated and unvaccinated visitors.

As of October 24, 2022, the DOT has recorded 1,827, 603 visitor arrivals exceeding the 1.7 million projections for the current year.